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Octogenarian couple formalises marriage 55 years after

For 55 years, they lived together as husband and wife. The husband, Sunday Ugiagbe,  is 81 and the wife, Alice, 80. Last Sunday, in Benin-City,  their  marriage was formalised at the Flame of Fire Bible Church, Olor Quarters, Benin-City. While the celebration was on, the Ugiagbes  spoke to Sunday Vanguard on why it took them so long to have them  blessed. Excerpts:

By SIMON EBEGBULEM

MR Sunday Ugiagbe

How old are you now?
I am 81 years. I was born on a Sunday.

So why did you have to wait till now before you had a church wedding ?
I had to wait because I have been seeing some of my mates who rushed into marriage and they will be messing around outside because they no longer love their wives. So I decided to wait to be sure that I am marrying the right person so that I will not make a mistake in the church.

After I passed out from the old standard two, I was employed in Agricultural Office in the then Benin Divisional Council, that was in 1956. From there, I was transferred to Ugiobazuwa and whereever I was transferred to, I always left her behind to take care of the children.

Mr & Mrs. Sunday Ugiagbe
Mr & Mrs. Sunday Ugiagbe

How did you meet your  wife?
I toasted her  for a year and six months. She insisted she didn’t  want me but I kept pestering her and it paid off one day when she decided to go out with me. I refused to go after another girl because I fell in love with my wife the first day I saw her. No girl was in my life, infact my wife is the only girl I have ever met.

And since I got married to her, I have not had cause to regret it because she is well behaved and she helps a lot in the family. By the time I came back from my station she must have paid the school fees of my children with her own money. And when I returned, she will explain to me and I will pay her half of the money, she will now tell me to forget about paying the remaining. She was doing that because she understood that she was making  more money as a market woman than me who only relied  on salary. But it is not because of her money that made me love her, the love is natural, she is God’s gift to me.

What was the family reaction when you wanted to marry her?
The family was very cooperative and they were very helpful to me.

What is your advice to  the younger ones who would want to get married and even those who are married now?
I always advise them not to marry in a hurry. You must be mature  mentally and physically before getting married. I am a very hard man when it comes to bringing up my children and kept advising them against making the wrong choice. And I have never starved my children of any thing.

If they demand for some thing and I do not have, I will go to their mother to help me and she will not disappoint me. Marriage is something  that is ever lasting; so you do not rush into it. I toasted my wife for over one year and six months and that is because I was patient. I would have gone out to marry another person when she was proving very difficult but I still went ahead  because I knew she was the person God meant for me.

So how do you feel today?
I feel great and, as a Deacon in the church, I am very close to God. I retired in 1996 and, since then, I have been managing myself with my wife.

Have you been paid your pension?
No way. You know I worked with both state and federal governments, but it is only in the state that they pay me little money. I thank God my wife is a market woman, she is the one that is always giving me money. It is not easy pursuing pension money and I do not want to die on queue. So I thank God for the wife he gave me because she has assisted me very very much in so many ways.

MRS Alice Ugiagbe

How has marriage been?
We have been married for over fifty five years now and since we got married we have not quarreled. We only did traditional marriage then but we have not blessed the marriage in the church and you know that God’s blessing is the best. You know that God is the ultimate. All the members of my family are here  for the celebration and we thank God for keeping us till today.

The Ugiagbes
The Ugiagbes

Can you tell us how you met your husband?
I met him when he was still a boy. I was 30 years old then while he was 31 and, immediately thereafter, we got married.

Traditional marriage

So I have benefited from the marriage all these years and that is why we decided that we must perform the church marriage so that God will not be angry with us.

How many children have you?
We have seven children with many great grand children and I thank God they are all alive and doing well.

How do you feel today?
I feel very happy. I wish you can see inside my heart and see how happy I feel. For that fifty five years we have not quarrelled. My husband understands me very well just like I understand him too. He is a very nice man. Even when he wants to complain about an issue, I will tell him, “honey, leave everything to God”.

How do you cope even   when things are   difficult, you mean you do not grumble at all about  issues?
Nothing is hard for us. What we do is that if he is at home and I go to the market to sell  because I am a business woman, by the time I come back, he must have taken care of all the house work.

The same thing happens when I am at home and he goes to work, before he comes back I must have cooked his best food for him. I do not argue  with him because I love him so much. He is somebody that understands me a lot and he does not do things that I do not like.

Does it mean you never suspected him or had any quarrel with him about having  extra-marital affair?
Not at all . I always know  his movement and he is somebody that does not care about any other woman. He is satisfied with me and that is why we have remained very close. In fact, it is  God that brought both of us together and that is why it  is a perfect match.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.